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3 stabbing victims are recovering

A 28-year-old Pahoa man stabbed early Friday morning in downtown Hilo suffered a punctured aorta and a 49-year-old Wainaku man sustained a punctured lung after he was allegedly stabbed 26 times by the same assailant.

The suspect, 28-year-old Varaha Mims, a Hilo man with no permanent address, made his initial court appearance Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder, three counts of attempted second-degree murder, burglary, property damage and marijuana possession.

Deputy Prosecutor Darien Nagata asked Hilo District Judge Harry Freitas to revoke Mims’ $500,000 bail and Mims’ attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa objected.

The judge maintained Mims’ bail and ordered Mims to return 2 p.m. Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

Mims remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $500,000 bail.

According to court documents filed by police, the Pahoa man, Skyler Nelson, and 27-year-old Sarah Steinbrecher of Hilo were standing outside Hilo Town Tavern on Keawe Street at about midnight when a stranger identified by a witness as Mims stabbed them.

Documents state Mims was seen shattering the windshield of a car outside the downtown watering hole before fleeing the scene on foot.

Nelson was originally taken to Hilo Medical Center in critical condition and later transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, where he reportedly remains in critical condition. The aorta, which extends from the heart to the abdomen, is the largest artery in the human body.

Steinbrecher was treated for a stab wound to the lower left flank of her back and released, documents state.

While officers were at the scene of the downtown stabbing, police received a report of a stabbing on Ohai Street in Wainaku. The victim, 49-year-old John Giuffre, told police his ex-tenant, Varaha Mims, broke through the door into Giuffre’s home and stabbed him repeatedly with a 4- to 5-inch knife. Giuffre had evicted Mims’ from his home and neighbors said Mims had broken into the house once before. Police confirmed that Mims had assaulted Giuffre about a week earlier in Keaau — one neighbor said Mims knocked Giuffre unconscious from behind — but Giuffre apparently declined to prosecute, Capt. Robert Wagner of Hilo Criminal Investigation Division said Friday.

According to documents, Giuffre sustained 26 stab wounds and a punctured lung. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center in critical condition. His condition was later updated to stable, police said.

Mims has no prior felony convictions.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-


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